The villagers from Kampong Speu province who were affected by ‘Okhna’ Ly Yong Phat’s sugar plantation, which, at one point, was financed by ANZ Royal bank, showed up in front of the bank’s head office, seeking a response to several meetings they had about a compensation. ANZ Royal had notified the villagers that the loan was paid back by Mr. Ly Yong Phat’s company, thus, according to the bank, absolving it from any implication in the land grabbing which affected 300 people. The villagers maintain that the bank violated its public commitment of corporate social responsibility.
After a short interruption due to the Peace March of the previous week, a small crowd of family members, supporters and monks again spent their sunday morning tugging along in a string of tuk-tuks on the dusty road to Prey Sar prison to show their support to the 18 land rights activists and buddhist monks who were arrested during protestes in early November and sent to jail for the next year.
There was an appeals hearing this morning for Ouk Pich Samnang, land rights activist, and Meach Sovannara, oppostion CNRP lawmaker, both arrested for two different incidents during protests over a month ago. There are 16 more land rights activists and buddhist monks who were jailed early November during various protests linked to land issues.
On the other side of the Tonle Sap, trouble erupted at Wat Prochoum Sar Koev when Kong Sophat, buddhist monk close to the Independent Monks for Social Justice (IMNSJ) who is protecting squatters living on the premises of the pagoda was beaten up by 4 monks from the same pagoda during what apparently was a drinking binge. A small incident, but symptomatic of the political division and tensions found within the buddhist community.
Citizens and monks who had been walking from various parts of the country,towards Phnom Penh over the last 5 days during a ‘Peace March’, were joined by a crowd of factory and construction workers in front of the National Assembly to celebrate International Human Rights Day.
There are videos at THIS LINK.
All the groups of citizens and monks, totalling several hundreds, have ended their 5-day journey along the national highways from various cities in Cambodia to reach Phnom Penh during a ‘Peace March’ to promote human rights. They each were denied access for a while by police blockades at the entrance of the city but finally were let through. They now take a rest before marching again in the capital tomorrow to celebrate International Human Rights Day.
Groups of monks and citizens proceed steadily but slowly during their 5-day ‘Peace March’ to promote human rights along the national highways and head for Phnom Penh for International Human Rights Day on December 10th.
Blisters are popping and muscles are sore though. And progress is not equal for all as some marchers are occasionally being harassed, either by police blocking the groups leaving from Kampong Cham and Takeo, or head monks locking up pagodas where the marchers intended to stay overnight.
See also ‘Peace March’, Day 1 HERE.
Several groups of monks and citizens are on a 5-day walk on Cambodia’s national highways (well… sort of ‘high’) in a ‘Peace March’ to promote human rights. The groups are converging to the capital Phnom Penh to celebrate International Human Righst Day on December 10th. Two groups, in Kompong Cham and Takeo provinces were prevented from marching on Friday.